Global Network Fee Proposals are Troubling. Here are Three Paths Forward.

By admin

Today
DATE

we’re sharing our perspective on the

EU
ORG

’s network fee proposal (aka. “fair share”) that would mandate payments from large

Content and Application Providers
ORG

(“CAPs,” such as

YouTube
ORG

or

Netflix
ORG

) to telecommunications network operators. We believe that our position paper is particularly timely given

this week
DATE

’s

EU
ORG

informal ministerial meeting in

León
GPE

.

Regulators and legislators in the

US
GPE

,

Brazil
GPE

, and

India
GPE

are considering similar policy proposals, and our position on those initiatives is no different.

Our analysis? These proposals would violate network neutrality, a bedrock principle of good internet policy, while enriching

billion-dollar
MONEY

-revenue

telcos
ORG

– and, most importantly, they would obscure the real goal of digital inclusion. Here’s our perspective:


Digital
ORG

inclusion should be the focus and priority of policy-makers, rather than the profitability of

European telcos
ORG

.

The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association
ORG

(

ETNO
ORG

) has attempted to turn the spotlight on their members with their network fee proposal. Yet any direct payments from CAPs to

telcos
ORG

would be no guarantee of more equitable, inclusive, affordable access for all.

.

rather than the profitability of

European telcos
ORG

.

The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association
ORG

(

ETNO
ORG

) has attempted to turn the spotlight on their members with their network fee proposal. Yet any direct payments from CAPs to

telcos
ORG

would be no guarantee of more equitable, inclusive, affordable access for all. Evidence should be transparent and verifiable , whether for or against the network fee proposal. The underlying methodology and sources of evidence supplied by

ETNO
ORG

in support of the network fee proposal are not transparent in terms of either source or methodology. This is amply illustrated by the fact that some of

ETNO
ORG

’s claims are contradicted by the

annual
DATE

reports of their member operators.

.

, whether for or against the network fee proposal. The underlying methodology and sources of evidence supplied by

ETNO
ORG

in support of the network fee proposal are not transparent in terms of either source or methodology. This is amply illustrated by the fact that some of

ETNO
ORG

’s claims are contradicted by the

annual
DATE

reports of their member operators.

Third
ORDINAL

,

ETNO
ORG

claims that their proposal would not violate net neutrality have been rejected by regulators and are not supported by historical or economic evidence. Such mandated payments would effectively grant network operators a termination monopoly, giving them gatekeeper control over content and reaching their customers. There is increasing evidence that the biggest telecom operators are already attempting to extract such payments for sufficient connectivity in their network.

.

Such mandated payments would effectively grant network operators a termination monopoly, giving them gatekeeper control over content and reaching their customers. There is increasing evidence that the biggest telecom operators are already attempting to extract such payments for sufficient connectivity in their network. Finally, many of the concerns raised by network operators are best addressed via competition tools, not network fee payments.

For each of these buckets, we highlight a path forward that stresses public benefit over the “clash of giants” inherent to the network fee debate.

Recently, both the

EU
ORG

and

Brazil
GPE

released the results of their respective network fee consultations. We are heartened to see widespread opposition to the network fee concept. The results of

the EU Commission’s
ORG

consultation in particular, watched by regulators around the world, presents a clear catalyst for policymakers to shift their attention to policy proposals which will more clearly benefit the public interest.

Read our full position paper here.